Push for Extended Blue Zone Hours by Sofia's Deputy Mayor: After 8 PM?

Society | May 10, 2024, Friday // 10:30
Bulgaria: Push for Extended Blue Zone Hours by Sofia's Deputy Mayor: After 8 PM? Photo: Stella Ivanova

The Deputy Mayor for Transport of Sofia, Iliyan Pavlov, advocates for an extension of the operating hours of the blue zone for paid parking, suggesting it should be effective beyond its current 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. timeframe on weekdays and Saturdays. Pavlov asserts that many individuals drive into the city center in the evenings for various activities like theater visits, dining out, or attending markets. Consequently, vehicles occupy parking spaces designated for central residents, creating a shortage. This information was shared by Pavlov in an interview with "Dnevnik."

Residents residing in the central part of Sofia have the option to park near their residences by purchasing a vignette sticker, priced at BGN 15 monthly or BGN 150 annually. However, it's important to note that the sticker doesn't guarantee a parking space, despite the associated cost.

Pavlov believes that extending the blue zone's operational hours would alleviate parking issues, particularly on "Patriarch Evtimii" Blvd. This move is expected to address concerns raised by residents about the reduction in available parking spaces due to the new traffic organization plans. While residents fear a significant decrease in parking spots from 140 to 50, Pavlov argues that the impact will be less severe.

Expressing personal conviction, Pavlov deems it necessary to prolong the blue zone's operational hours, emphasizing its current inefficiency and its adverse effects on residents. Presently, parking in the blue zone costs BGN 2 per hour, with a maximum two-hour stay permitted.

The controversial project for a bus lane and two bike lanes on "Patriarch Evtimii" Blvd., which reduces parking spaces, was introduced by the previous mayor, Yordanka Fandakova. Despite initial support from Fandakova, protests led to the suspension of the project. Presently, opposition against the new traffic arrangements is being spearheaded by Vencislav Banchev, an unsuccessful mayoral candidate from GERB, along with other political figures promising to halt the project's implementation. However, any changes to the blue zone's operating hours necessitate approval from the Metropolitan Municipal Council, a decision that is unlikely to occur before upcoming elections to avoid public discontent.

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Tags: sofia, blue zone, parking, extension

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